After the solution has been delivered and implemented, salespeople have one final task. The last step in the Delivery phase and the end of the sale process itself is the measurement and reporting of the results generated by the solution.
Of all the sales methodologies, this sales process best positions salespeople to measure and report results. We have already determined the indicators of the problem, its financial impact, and expectations of the solution and its value. In delivery, we simply turn back to these figures, measure them against the actual results, and report our findings to the customer.
If the expected outcomes have not been achieved, we prove our value and professionalism to the customer once again by diagnosing the obstacles that are holding them back and designing new solutions. If the expected outcomes are being achieved, we can use the results report to open new business opportunities with the customer.
Salespeople should complete this work because of the following three compelling reasons:
It ensures that the promised outcomes have been achieved. Salespeople may be able to succeed in the short term by closing sales and moving on to new customers, but to succeed in the long term, we must deliver on our promises.
It provides the basis for renewing our sales methodology, which is also a cycle. When our customers achieve or exceed the outcomes they envisioned for the solution, we can renew our sales process by using their results to move back into the diagnostic mode and then design new solutions that are capable of providing improved results.
It allows us to establish our position as one of our customer's preferred resources, which maximizes the long-term profitability of the customer relationship and erects intimidating barriers for our competitors to overcome.
The ultimate goal is to become our customer's key resource for the solutions we bring to market. This relationship sets us apart from the competition in the customer's mind and leads to an ongoing role of diagnostic problem solver. Again, a source of business advantage.
Here are five characteristics of key resources:
Key resources are active participants in their customers' businesses. They understand those businesses and take an active role in their success.
Key resources commit to long-term growth relationships with their customers. They allocate the time and energy needed to work with their customers on a regular basis.
Key resources base their recommendations on measurable problems and outcomes. They are always working from the reality of the customer's world.
Key resources act as early warning systems for customers. They surface unexposed problems and notify customers of changes in products, technologies, and markets that may impact their businesses.
Key resources stay close. They know that two-thirds of customers stop doing business with companies because they feel unappreciated, neglected, or treated indifferently. 
If it sounds as though there is a good deal of work involved in becoming a key resource, there is. At least, there is more work than the conventional salesperson typically undertakes. But the rewards are exponentially higher.
In the "You snooze, you lose" world of business, trained salespeople are always awake and alert to significant changes in the environment. Their customers learn to depend on this alertness and become loyal, long-term customers.
Further, in sales, your best customer is always your competitor's best prospect. The customers of enlightened salespeople, however, have a much higher resistance level than the average customer. Customers know the value that they derive from a high quality sales relationship. So, when competitors call them and say, "We can give you the same thing for 10 to 20 percent less," our customers don't get stars in their eyes. They know the right questions to ask and the traps to avoid. They are also well aware of all of the decisions that go into choosing a high-quality solution.
See note 1, p. 128, according to the findings of a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review.
The topics covered herein concern solution sales, consultative sales, and consultative selling.